by Chris Knox (AUG82 RIP IT UP p1)
We are Northern white crap....
by Mark Cubey (16AUG82 SALIENT p5)
"Mark Cubey reviews The Fall concert
and speaks to Mark E Smith" (6SEP82 SALIENT p10)
by George Kay (SEP82 RIP IT UP p12)
In the gentle art of subversion, the Fall have been persistent.
Since 1978 they've been undermining the myths and morals of
the rock'n'roll edifice in order, not so much to tear it dawn, but
more to strip it back to the raw necessities of honest, unfrilled
In another sense they've become the last true survivors of the
late 70's clearout, the last articulate disciples of a truth tainted
by the hollow virtues of the 'new wave'. So, for many, the Fall
have become unhip priests.
The Holiday Lodge, Christchurch, is a fancy sounding name
for what are a collection of ageing, roughcast motel units in
Colombo St. A far cry from the usual rock star sumptuousness
of the Vacation Hotel or Noah's.
Unit 5 and after a brief chat to Kay Carroll, the bands
manager and number one fan. Mark E. Smith arrives from the
shops with a bottle of Rochdaie dry cider among other things.
Pale and thin. Smith is also sporting a black eye and a cut with
three stitches over his eyebrow; injuries suffered during a
friendly game of soccer against some 'macho Aussies'.
Smith and I have an hour before the bands soundcheck in
the Town Hall; the second of their two Christchurch gigs, the
first having been played the night before at the university,
so he grabs the cider and I start the tape.
How did it go last night ?
"There were a lot of people there which is great, and they
loved it and the band were happy but I wasn't and I told them
that its going to be different. I had a row with the lads over
it. Sometimes they tend to slip into formularisation. It goes
down well with the audience but I dont think its a good thing
coz it ends in rock and becornes complacent."
By formularisation I take it you mean cliche?
"No, anything can become a cliche and we've got a lot of
innovation in our songs but when you get a song off pat it
seems to take all the reason out of it. The band dont know
what they are gonna play each night before they go on and that
keeps the tension there. And last night the main bulk of the
set was new material that no-one had heard before."
Smith's hurried Manchester accent conveys a dogmatism and
determination that has kept the Fall on the rails ever since their
recorded emergence with Bingo Masters Break-Out' in 1978.
What prompted you to start a band!
"I was doing a lot of writing of prose and poetry and then
the sort of new wave happened. I used to kick around the
bedrooms a lot with two of me mates on guitar and we decided
to make a group of it. I thought a lot of the new wave was going
wrong as you just got old bands dressed as new wave bands.
The really good bands around Manchester like the Worst and
the Prefects never got anywhere. And then you had groups who
played cabaret for years and they got their hair cut and they
were it. That was my main motivating force and I just thought
could do it better than them."
As a vocalist did you model yourself on anyone in particular!
"Naw not really I used to like Lou Reed a 1ot as a kid.
saw him a couple of times and I think I picked up a couple of
Live, are you aware of any image up there ?
"Naw, I try not to take any notice of it. When we were in
Sydney people were going look he's got his back to the
audience, thats a great new thing. But its not I don't formularise
it like that. Last night I had my back to the audience only
because the fucking equipment was shit. I do it as a means of
getting everybody together as a unit. I treat it as a job of work,
being on stage and I try and concentrate which was why I was so
annoyed last night because the equipment crapped out we had the road
crew walking across the stage evry 10 fucking minutes and it breaks the
concentration. You can make a lot of things up on stage often by accident,
and it's good."
Do you still believe the Fall can change the nature of rock'n'roll?
"I think we already have done. People have been influenced
by us but I dont know if it's a good thing. There are loads of
groups who just copy us and then water it down."
If they're copying then that's a calculated, self-conscious act
and thats surely against the principles of the Fall?
"..Yeah, exactly. I've been thinking about that a lot lately and
it really pisses me off."
Interlude and look around. Count the number of New Zealand bands
who've adopted the harsh no-compromise stance of the Fall. It goes
well into double figures. The Dunedin scene alone echoes the
beliefs initially touted by Smith five years ago.
The conversation turns to Toy Love and Chris Knox whose
phone interview with Smith appeared in last month's issue:
"I was very arrogant with him actually because when he rang
me up he was sayin' do this and do that when you come over
here and 1 said to him you can't even do a fuckin' interview
man so don't start tellin' me what to do. Coz he couldn't, he
was goin''ahmm, ahmm, ahmm, like this, and I said
and reverse the bleedin'charges on the phone. And he
was sayin get your sound right cos they dont know anything
about sound in New Zealand, which was right, that was a good tip."
Did you like Australia?
"We stayed in Kings Cross, what a fuckin' nightmare, I was
bloody horrified. I'm no moralist but in the street I was accosted
by prostitutes, drunks, people tryin' to borrow money, every-
thing's open 24 hours and there's junkies everywhere. It's all
"New Zealand seems to be good like that. There seem to be
quite a lot of restraints and sometimes they work for the good.
Il's very Anglophile here, like the North of England really. The
people are triendly like the Northerners. And this is the only
country where we got into the bloody top 20."
Integrity and the tear of compromise must be important
guidelines for the Fall!
"..Yeah, but I don't get worked up about it. The minute it
becomes routine is just as much of a compromise. To be
conscious all the time of should we do this or that is bad. I work
in a sort of organic way where I~ollow my heart.
"Our time on Rough Trade is a typical example of where their
so-called integrity became routine.They had loads of bands and
they were pressin' the same number for every band, and we were
sayin' look the FalI's bloody unique and you should be backin'
.S~ And they would say oh so you want to be a pop star now.
And I'd say no I don't want to be a pop star I want the bloody
respectI deserve, and I'd ask why wasn't the record in that shop
and why are you sending it to some stupid left wing magazine
and not to a daily paper! And they say, oh that's sellin' out.
That's just like all those muddled socialist ideals. And they'd
go, this song Sounds a bit fascist to us and what are you doing
on this song. And I'd say it.s none of your fuckin' business. If
they'd been a big label and gave me 50.000 pounds then I
might've let them have a say.
"I'd had enough of them and they're all middle class. They
didn't know what the Fall was about and they were signing all
these bands that sounded like the Fail."
The Fall and Rough Trade always seemed like a marriage
made in heaven
"Naw. They went out to sign us and in the end we were that
bloody desperate we had to for money, like. They were good
in that they always gave you your royalties. Not like our first
label, Step Forward, ~or whom we did those first singles and
first two albums but we never saw a penny. That's a fact, we
were bloody starving to death.'lt's A New Thing' was single
of the year and we had no fuckin' money in our pockets."
Slates was the last thing you did for Rough Trade7
"Yeah, and that was the one we had the trouble over. They
thought that the 'Pink Press' sounded a bit fascist, but'I told
them that was what I was gettin' at, fascism doesn't have to
be the men in suits.
"I was just so sick of the whole Alternative Chart thing so
Kay said we'd do Slates as a 10 inch and we had the price so
low that it wasn't an LP or a single, it was like nothin'. So we
avoided the whole alternative thing of being top of the charts.
"Slates was also a very class conscious thing and it was a retort
to Rough Trade in many ways."
The Fall aren't exactly easy listening, which is the point that
they're trying to make - life isn't easy living. They come from
the ugliness of the less fashionable parts of Manchester and
fashion takes a hammering on the liner notes to their recent
single on Kamera, Lie Dream Of a Casino Soul':
"Nobody's ever asked me about those liner notes before. Very
bitter weren't they !"
The blows seemed to be aimed at the new romantics and the
"Yeah but there was also a dig at the Liverpool scene, Echo
and the Teardrops. They're OK but at the time they were pissin'
me off because they were goin' on Top of the Pops and imitating
our stage mannerisms. The Fall never go on TV in England and
Echo used to play a lot with us in the early days so it was almost
like a betrayal. You talk to Echo these days and it's like they're
tryin' to be Dave Bowie,"
If Slates was the Fall's most concentrated venom then Hex
Enduction Hour must rank as their most direct and simple
"Most people thought it was more complex in musicianship
which was a surprise to me because, like you, I thought the
exact opposite. A lot of it is very simple. There are two or three
numbers there that I wrote on the spot. It's a departure from
Slates. If wid gone on from Slates it could have become a big
rock sound, which we're not into really."
Speaking of a big rock sound, how are the two drummers
"Good, but we've toned it down as it was becc,ming a bit
heavy so we've got Karl (Burns) doin' other things,as well, so
sometimes we've got three guitarists."
The two drummer line-up is a real Gary Glitter touch
"Yeah, yeah. Actually the reason it came about was that we
used Karl last year on a tour of America as Paul Hanley was
under 18 and too young. We brought Karl; back permanently
after that. The Gary Glitter and Adam Ant angle did appeal
to me after that. But Karl's really there for the balance he's
a very high tech musician and he couid play in a technical
band easy and Paul's a self-taught drummer.
In the band is there a pride in their musicianship?
"Yeah, there is. But I dont encourage them to practice all the
time. I don't think it's good for them. A bloody guitar is a guitar
it's like a piece of wood. I think you get more interesting things
from applying it and looking at it differently each time In the
original band with Martin Bramah (now with the Blue Orchids I
gave him most of the tips on how to play and can't play.
"It's the same when I write the tunes or lyrics if it's getting
too formularised, slick or proficient I rip it all up, no matter whether
it's good or bad. And I'I1 change the line-up and peoples
instruments if it's getting too slick.
The most interesting criticique on the Fall was written by
Barney Hoskyns and appeared in ,NME 14 November last year.
Hoskyns described Smith as a Hip Priest engaged in the right
to promote working class credibility and supremacy. What did
Mark E. Smith think of the article!
"It was very retrospective. I was pleased with it although it
was pretentious in parts."
Are you fired up with working class zeal?
"No, that was one thing I didn't like about Hoskyn's article.
That stinks that sort of thing. I just write about it. It was one
of the reasons for forming the group, like there were other
groups going on about the working classes and they obviously
weren't working class, they were bloody art students like the:
"I wrote about it because you'd see bands from the North and
they'd be singing bloody love songs yet where I come from you'd,
be lucky to find a girl in the street. Or you'd go to a pub and
they'd be doin' this sort of laid back stuff and you'd think fuck,
nothin' to do with what's happening"
The middle class seem to view their poorer cousins through
rose-tinted giasscs as if the working class is an easy way to
respect and credibility.
"Yeah, right, this is what I hate about the left wing. It is only
guilt manifest. I went to grammar school and all the other kids
were middle class and I envied them in some ways. I didn't lead a
particularly working class life; my dad worked with his hands
and we were dead 'appy.
"I often felt sorry for the middle class kids what with all the
pressures on them. I don't hate them but they think theyre better
off and nobody's better off really."
It seems to me that the Fall are being accepted as the safe
working class alternatives and so everybody's happy, but ii the
band threatened real change then the critical acclaim could turn
sour overnight through fear of insecurity. What do you reckon
"Right, that's what's happening. Hoskyns has done an about
turn. I saw him at the opening of this stupid club Factory in
Manchester and he comes over like 'I'm with Mark Smith' and
I say get out of my way. He was trying to lick up me arse and
make like he was a life long mate and I was gettin embarrassed.
Anyway at the time of the interview he had been pestering an -
old French friend of mine, Claude, who started Slash Records
years ago, and we told Hoskyns that the Gun Club and Fear
were good. So he starts pestering me and Claude for tapes of
Fear, which were pretty rare, so Claude got him a couple. Then
he writes these things in the paper that Fear are a load of shit
after fucking annoying us to hear them. That pissed me off.
because he used a friend of mine.
"He's been hanging around the Birthday Party and he's seeing
an Australian girl and so he's mentioning Australian bands all
the rime. And the next thing you hear he likes the Blue Orchids
now. But he's a fuckin' good writer."
Politically, where are you?
"A lot of people think I'm just a bloody fascist but I don't
believe in left wing paranoia and I don't believe in the Tory
"The Falkland thing was a shock to me. I thought the Army
did a great job, and these communists and revolutionaries in
the pubs were going 'Thatcher's War' and every bloody group
was bringin' out anti-war singles, it was fuckin' disgraceful. At
the Labour Club I started rowing with these guys and I said
if the Russians came they wouldn't let you sit here bleedin' all
day on the dole drinking yourselves to death. And they say the .
war's costing a lot of money and I'd say what's fucking money
anyway, 1 thought you were socialists. Don't kid me, everybody
likes a war, as long as I don't get hit, its true innit?~'
A lot of writers these days seem to equate mental depression
"I agree and I'm wary of that with the band. Everybody does
the paranoid music. I thought that about Joy Division; they
were very slushy, very depressing in a maudlin way. And the
Joy Division copyists are pretty funny. Like you could go to
a club an see this gangly dick tryin' to do this sorta paranoid
fit. I prefer catharsis, that's healthy, that's not depressing."
"Before we came over we went into the studio and tried an
experiment. Instead of doing the songs we had been rehearsing
we did seven songs of about five minutes each and some of them
are just me and Karl double-tracked. it worked well as each
song is just like a different band and that stuff should be out
as a l0-inch record by the time we're back."
Is the Fall the last garage band in town!
"No, although it would be very cosy for us. I think a lot of
our stuff is serious, contemporary classical."
Mark E. Smith laughs, rock music quivers.
(AUG82 RIP IT UP p1)
The Fall shrugged themselves together into their first of 12
different forms In early 1977, right in the middle of the punk
thing. Immediately transcended their musical environment by
making singles like'Bingo Masters Breakout', which was at once
different, amateurish (in a way that other bands tried to copy
without understanding the intent) and NME single of the week.
Mark Smith and his everchanging lads had instant credibility.
The extraordinary thing is that in the five intervening years
they've retained all the things that made them unique, while
their comtemporaries have escaped to the States and Top Of
Pops or given up trying to be human.
Their early albums. Live At The Witch Trials (which wasn't)
and Totale's Turn (which was), were packed with great songs,
idiosyncratical lyrics, the occasional melody, scratchy. yelpy,
off-putting vocals and a certain feeling that this guy Smith had
things well sussed.
I've never heard Dragnet their second album, but Grotesque
After The Gramme was even less accessible, more challenging
than the early stuff, with widely differing recorded sounds and
virtually no melody. Grotesque, the first Fall released here, got
Into the Top 30. Good grief! 'Totally Wired', the single which
appears live on the album, actually got on Radio With Pictures!
A hand-held, one-shot, vaguely inept piece of live footage
showed that the band couldn't give a shit about presenting
themselves in a $40,000 cosmetic mini-epic or whatever. Good.
Next up Slates was a l0-inch album that cost the earth on
import, but was worth it, and now we have Hex Enduction Hour
and the single 'Lie Dream of a Casino Soul' being released in
NZ When told how much Fall records cost to hard-core,
import-buying NZ fans Smith responded:
"Fuckin' hell, that's ridiculous! While we're over here, we're
getting something together with Gap Records."
So, with any luck at all, we may get the whole Fall catalogue
for the normal inflated prices.
How The Fall Discovered New Zealand
Three months ago (or so) Helene, who runs Sydney's
'Stranded' venue, and Ken West, who previously imported
Snakefinger (immediately prior to the heart attack that
prevented him reaching NZ), managed to convince the Fall's
manager, Kay Carroll, that they were eminently suited to
bringing her bunch of Northern Soul Boys (joke) over to
Australasia. The fact that Helene and Ken had helped the
Birthday Party lurch around Australia established their ability
to handle the unusual and controversial without becoming
librium addicts, so with Vivian to handle Melbourne and the
mysterious Edward Zimblis (no relation to Roman Totale XVII),
they formed the syndicate. A tour was born.
Being a Wellingtonian by birth (nine years in Levin, hardy
soul'. Helene thought NZ would benefit from the Fall, and
maybe even vice versa. So, completely bypassing the normal
promotional avenues, Mainstreet in Auckland, Victoria in
Wellington and Christchurch Town hall were booked through
people in those three cities who had never had any experience
with overseas acts. The level of efficiency and organisation was
not exactly state of the art, but enthusiasm was very high.
Admittedly, being involved In the Auckland part of the tour
makes me extraordinarily biased (but don't hold that against
me, will ya?). I know the Fall are good I know that a normally
organised NZ tour would not serve them well, so we'll see what
A Phone Interview With Mark E. Smith
Things don't start very well, Smith failing to respond to
questions about why he bothers to come to this part of the world
("That's a bit of a ridiculous question"), so I try a different tack:
How about big halls and PAs?
'I've no preference. I don't believe in that sort of ... ah
it s great to play to the little clubs', and all that sort of shit that
everybody comes out with when they get feeling a bit guilty."
It's only guilt ?
"It is in a way, yeah. Because thry sort ot fuck up, don't
they when they get into big halls and the sound is bad and
everything and the): start pining for small gigs."
Surely that situation can be out of a band's control?
"They should sort that out before they do the big halls,
shouldn't they! We have no problem with big halls or little halls,
y'know. If you let the PA guy run your sound, it's your own
fault. We've got Kay, the manager, does the mixing. We have
no trouble telling people what to do."
How do you keep a high level of intensity, doing six gigs in
a row with completely different sets'?
"We get better. After three or four gigs it's a lot easier. It's
usually the first couple that are bad."
What about the Iceland track on Hex Enduction Hour ?
"Sixteen track. It was ... er ... it's funny,'cos all the walls
were lava, y'know, so you could play really quiet and you didn't
sound weedy. You could actually hear what you were doing
while you were doing it, which is really unusual. Expensive,
but it was worth it."
So you went to Iceland with that in mind?
"Oh, no, no, no. We just had a day off, so we went up there."
Do you know anything about NZ ?
"Not particularly, no. I watched the football team." (Loud
New Zealand's not a lot like Australia, Aussies really like bass
"You can say that again. Every band I've seen here all you
can fuckin' hear is the bloody bass guitar"
Where do you go after Hex?
"I'm gonna sparse it down a bit. Yeah, sorta rubbin' out the
two drumkit lineup, y'know."
Smith says he's not promoting any particular ideal, nor is he in it
for the money. When asked why he's doing what he
does, he replies, in a Spike Milligan-type Indian accent, "I hope
to find myself through outer sociology".
We say goodbye
At the time of writing, the Fall had been in Australia for about
10 days. Karl Burns had his passport stolen by a groupie in the
States, and on returning to the UK had his brand new one eaten
by a dog, so he didn't make it to the first gigs. Mind you, Smith
only just made it to the opening set at the Sydney Musicians'
Club. After some minutes of yer Oz audience chanting 'The Fall
don't keep us waiting', Kay Carroll leapt on stage, saying "Hey,
hey, he's not Mick Jagger! He's Mark Smith and he's got lost!"
It was true, he had. But he slouched on stage seconds after
with his omnipresent bag of goodies, and conducted the
evening's festivities with his back firmly and inexorably turned
to the audience. Apparently, his grin was immense.
In Australia, controversy is running very high indeed. See
-Victoria University of Wellingtons student magazine
Salient (16AUG82) Mark Cubey page 5
After playing to packed
houses- in Australia and
the South-Island, the
band The Fall come to
Wellington on Thursday
night, for a concert in the
Union Hall. Mark Cubey
offers some thoughts on
the band described as "a
raw unprocessed fluke
that gives a bad name to.
the record industry in
Mark E. Smith, vocalist for the band in
question, announces time to
Northern disco mating audience
Bunched vitriol cocktails full
of ice, Courtesy Fall, vinylised on
Totale's-Turns which lives up the"live"
moniker: a portrait of
raw thrash and no compromise.
this is not the songs performed
from·fixed recorded maps; not tied to
the past like 90 percent of our
'entertainers", whose rigid parameters
(straight, Jack, it holds
them true) keep them in
the same old mould.
This is the Fall, who "never
liked preaching to the converted
So don't get too
adulatory But be there Thursday.
Cos this is your one chance to see
Manchester's finest, Britain's best
band, in concert here at the
crummy old Union Hall.
Fresh from the bleached
wastes of Australia ("it's all bass
bass & drums -- I suppose
NZ is all guitars" -
Smith's response to query regarding
that most blandly vile
of all musical sub-species,
Aussie-rock) to scrape their way
up our glorious country come the
One of the original English
punk bands. Some would say the
last. Either way, few peers
around. The Fall compound
pounded lean-yelps and wails;
whelps making hails while the
sun shines. Kicking out pegs and
digging holes all over. This is no
easy-seal holed and pigeoned
wheel, jellied to slip in any lazy
orifice slackly opened for the
New Thing. This is the Fall.
A little history:-
The Fall weigh 60 stone, are'
100 years old and live cheap.
That was when they were five.
They now number six. Free men:
Marc Riley -- electric piano and
guitar, electric organ
Craig Scanlan -- cheap guitar
Steven Hanley -- bass guitar
Paul Hanley -- his younger
Karl Burns -- also drums. Was
original Fall drummer, left,
returned to fill in for mid-81
Eurotour while Paul took A
levels, stayed .
Mark E. Smith -- vocals, lyrics,
Kay Carroll -- management
This is the latest of a changed
many times line-up, with extra
guitars, pianos, vocals, tapes and
tasks spread around the number
The years have seen Smith
constant while all revolves.
Speaking of discs, there've been:
Live at the Witch Trials
Grotesque (after the Gramme)
and now Hex Enduction Hour
in the way of albums.
Binge Master's Break Out
Il's the New Thing
How, I wrote Elastic Man
and now Lie Dream of A Casino
and (please) soon Look Know
Some of these you will find in
the shops, some not, such is
the way of record releases in this
There is also Slates, a 33rpm
10" six-song thingy, which until
Lie Dream and Hex provided the
clearest focus yet on the Fall. A
honed down sound spirit of
hounded punk. Swinging a left
hook that hits harder for the
relaxation behind it.
"Everything bar Slates musically
is 10 years out of synch on the
contemporary scene. Young
producers and non-tech studios
are like gold dust now. You have
been told. "
Brings us to the new stuff.
Until terminal '81 the Fall
production sound was raw,
archaic, and uncompromisingly
difficult. No more so than say,
'early Velvets or other arcane
treatises, but to slack gaped ears
waxed with glossy high-tech
strains, the Fall certainly seemed
"l'm really into a rough
production and you have to
work hard To achieve that. Now
a lot of other groups seem to be
going for a raw sound so that 's
why we've moved a bit away
from it. "
Enter young Richard Mazda,
who's given greater clarity and
presence to the sound; hardly
pristine but punched. Hard. And
it's still hard to hear the words.
Deliberate again. Now you
know most "writers" couldn't
pen their way through a letter
home and and smart ones like
Mark E, Smith know that
keeping things hid means
Hell, I've gone round singing
(what I thought were) a song's
words found afterwards to bear
no relation to the "real" ones. I
should give one? They're my
words and they'll do.
The Kingsmen mumble their
way through Louie Louie and
'cos of that it is terrific. Tear up
the lyric sheets. Beefheart knows
this (pauses to toss in info that
"You don't have to be weird to
be weird" is a Don Van Vliet
phrase: see Totally Wired) and
Lou Reed used to; Do you want
everything on a plate ? Why be
lazier than you are?
But soft -- Smith has stuck
some of Lie Dream's words on
its sleeve. Yeah. But Only some.
The easy-to-make ones. There's
still lots hidden in this (number
20 first week in! Hey! and
rising!!) eminently purchasable .
No way to explain it but take
a look at these words:
I saw John the ex-Fox
sleeping in some OUTSIDE
there's a silent rumble, in
the buildings of the night
Now, they're made to he sung,
not seen.'So get the record and
see how the whole phrase builds
up to "night" on which all is left
silently hanging for the lynch-pin
of "council" to be hammered in
the slot and bind it up tight
Talk about swing! Accuracy!
This hard-edged scatter-bomb
sound, running on speed fuelling
a double-drumkit knockabout
engine can handle just about any
form or style.
Hex Enduction Hour has the
lot, from ice meditations to barb
hook thrash. Clearer and harder
-- the Fall just get better and
better, in contrast to
contemporaries, sludging about
in little backwaters.
There's such a wealth of
freedom, imagination, invective
(adjective garden time, pick your :
own) going on here that for a
silly little band like Riot 111. to
be (so I hear) sharing the bill is
surely someone's idea of a joke."'
"The conventional has become
the experimental and is in no
way noble. "
Mark knows. Know what I
The Fall are operating from.an
unassailed power base into areas
'that no one else is dreaming of
charting. They expunge
"official". reality and will fully
create their own by slicing life
and mind into a mixture of past,
present and prescient that knits
together: needles puncturing -
sew so sweet.
When all else seems to be
sliding into a morass of cheap
sneers or thin veneers the Fall :
and lots of other brave
Don't expect the expected,
especially what I've raved, just
be there and fork the money for
the Fall, If you're disappointed,
too bad.: You can't please
"Mark Cubey reviews The Fall concert
and speaks to Mark E Smith" p10
Slumped in-seat, VB can in hand;
Mark E Smith checks the Fall sound-
check from midway empty Union Hall.
Instrumental Lie Dream and Leave the
Capitol thump out; tinny. Sounded
better earlier with cassette of Spacer
bassing it. Plenty time to get right. Mark
consents to interview, later.
Hall slow to fill. you don't want to
hear about Riot 111. Naked Spots
Dance have expanded lineup, violins
yet. Space precludes assessing their
merits. Wait a while. Fall finally file out. .
Two drumkits on the riser. Craig
Scanlan guitaring-stage left. Right
there's Marc Riley on keys, and Steve
Hanley basses behind. Mark - to the
Torrent of word spew, stewed into a
thick hard mix; Best you can do to catch
fleeting lines -- unfamiliar songs
stretched to lengths that help allow
access to the vein movement to the
pulse. And it's constant, unrelenting.
To pick highs almost senseless
(though I could Fantastic Life
diamond-sharp and endless crested
peaks, new words and an organlguitar
wash that screams Velvets over a
driving, piling engine..You have to take
this as an.entirety - a performance of.
brutal intensity that left me at a loss -
tossed. Working to take that in-.isn't.
easy. No concessions. But no-one
seemed to mind.
Kay Carroll, the band's manager,
enthused afterwards about the concen-
tration, the evidenced intelligence of
the audience. When they walked off, all
seemed drained. Little applause. But
back they came for an encore -- almost
too`much. Not yer regular crowd
manipulating thing. Not building to a
crescendo, but more constructing a
meshed pattern, jigsawing in the angles
and parts to complete the whole. What
the hell -- you were there. Or you
weren't. If you missed, Wellington
won't see the Fall's like for a long time.
Buy the records.
'EVERYONE'S TOO COOL'
Afterwards Peter Johnston and i
spoke to Mark in the Radio Active
studio. Itturned out that he wasn't
particularly- surprised at the lack of
applause at the end. So why do an
"We have an attitude that if nobody
claps,.and there's like, only two people
calling for more, we come back on ...
"it's been like that every night here.
There's new stuff we want to try, and
there's been, like, new PA, new gear
"We've done it in England too. where
everyone's too cool to applaud;.. wait 10
minutes and come back out to, say, 15
to 20 people and play some more..."
"The problem we're having in New
Zealand - people are thinkin' the new
stuff's on records you can't get here...
TOTALLY BRAND NEW
"l'm approaching this -- Australia as
well, we got in fuckin' trouble there as
well -- approaching-this as if playin' in
England. I'm not goin' to come over
here and go back two years just
because you think you're behind.
"it means nothing-- just 'cos some
kids are into fashions a couple of years
behind...`that happens all over the
fuckin' joint - 10 minutes up the road
from me they're all into fuckin' heavy
metal, y'know what I mean?
"It's amazing how many people come
up and say Totally fuckin' Wired,
y'know? We haven't done it in England
for a year and a half."
"Why `should I patronise New
Zealanders? are they some fuckin' sub-
breed? Australia was the same -- 'Oh,
Totally Wired, that's the only one we
can get out here.'... So fuckin' what? I
live in Manchester and you can't get any
of our records there -- do you know
what I'm saying? What we played
tonight would be new stuff to the
biggest Fall fan that had every fuckin'
record... it was six-tenths new stuff."
Didn't really matter to me, though 1
was surprised to see so little off the
new Ip, Hex Enduction Hour. Means
lots more goods to come. Meanwhile,
Hex continues· to repay endless
Listen, there's more going on in that
one hour than anyone, (anyone, bub) is
even attempting. Much as I love other
musics, it's this stuff that packs the
killer punch. Wise up! Open ears!
Remind yourself that everything
doesn't have to be so fucking lazy,
Mark -- "Hex was a huge sort of kiss-
off to, like, everything. Like Slates, a
similar attitude towards the aim of -
this is.the one, sort out the wheat from
"I was genuinely surprised that
people found Hex accessible -- I was
dead surprised. I wouldn't have thought
that it was more approachable than
Grotesque, which was, like, a bit old-
fashioned y'know -- Container Drivers,
and rocky stuff.
"There's more of a theme to Hex. It
was all recorded in deliberately bad
places -- a deliberately violent LP -
deliberately simple sort of thing. Three
songs were written at rehearsal and
done the next time. I was surprised
people really liked it -- y'know, it's
TWO DRUM FALL
The two-drummer line-up resulted'
from an American tour which Paul
Hanley (still a teenager and too young
to work there) was unable to go on.
Mark happened to run into Karl Burns,
former Fall drummer who "was thinking
of giving up drums".
He didn't, and went on the US tour.
"Karl gave a different angle on the
new material. It would have been a
shame to let him go at the end of the
tour, so Paul came back in and now we
have both of them. Karl can do all sorts
of things, play guitar and bass, which
fits in withmy sort of thing... it's a bit
confusing on stage;but it's good."
It's great to have three guitars at
"Yeah, the guitar hasn't really been
approached, no matter what people say.
The trouble with synthesisers is they're
too fuckin' set, set by machine. The
more limitations you make, the more
possibilities there are ..."
OPERATE ON REACTION
"I approach this as, like, rehearsal.
I've been doing this for three, four
years, so, see, I can't rehearse in a`
bloody room, don't find it stimulating. t
The musicians operate on fuckin'
Like when Mark disrupted Lie Dream
near the end and the band have to find
their way back into the song.
"It wouldn't be any good to have a load of
free fuckin' musicians obviously. That's
why they're good - they stick tio what
they know rather than show off and
improvise and when you go, like (snaps
fingers) it produces something instant..."
In Christchurch, the support act was
The Clean, who reformed specially for
"I thought they were good. I don't like
most pop stuff but the singer reminded
me of -- y'know Alex Chilton? (yeh,
originally a Boxtop, then crazed solo
act, now guitarist for Tav Falco's
Panther Burns)-- the guitarist's got a
great voice -- a sort of sloppy, almost,
guitar style ...
"They got a very hard time - all
these thugs.in the front row started
throwing bottles 'n' 'that, and they just
walked off ... They should've really got
into it, probably would've been better..."
"I think that boy on guitar should
take the lead -- him and the drummer."
"They're brothers? You're kidding !
Great -- oh they could do anything they
wanted to, what's the matter with
Indeed. Mark reckons-"London's
more foreign than this place,"and
England's regional music has the
diversity that NZ is getting, could have..."
"The difference between this place
and fucking Christchurch - couldn't
believe it. There's a definite split. I find
the people in Liverpool foreign, 30 miles
away. Something like The North Will
Rise Again brings it up.
"it's just a story -- not how I feel, I'm
amazed at the difference. It took me a
while to work it out. I just fuckin' talk
about it - you could talk about it in
New Zealand -- talk about it anywhere..."
Like Peter says, the Fall sings to the
audience about themselves, about their
own lives. Kay Carroll was
overwhelmed with this part of the
world, (I mean, she is just great - need
a new article) so maybe they'll be back.
Mark with some of the conversations
the words he tapes on his cassettes. A
hard working band. Unlimited potential.
"'Cause we play a lot, y'know by any
British band's standards, we have to -
reasons like, to live and eat."